Hindu group turns to Kedah sultan for help in Thaipusam holiday row

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A Hindu group will send a memorandum to Sultan of Kedah, Sultan Sallehuddin Sultan Badlishah over the state government’s decision to cancel this year’s Thaipusam holiday in the state.

Hindu Agamam Ani Malaysia Association adviser Arun Doraisamy said Menteri Besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor has bullied the state’s Hindu community on several issues, the cancellation of the public holiday being the latest outrage he has perpetrated on them.

“We sincerely regret and are concerned over the turn of events in Kedah,” said Arun.

“We wonder why the Kedah’s palace has remained silent in this matter while the menteri besar continues his bullying acts against the Hindu community in the state, which included temple demolition, defamation of temple institution with bogus numbers and now, refusing the Thaipusam holiday.

Afif Abd Halim/TMI

“We will be sending a ‘Memorandum of Hindu Festival Matter’ to the sultan on Monday.

“Since we are in the movement-control order (MCO) period, this will be an open memorandum, where it will be sent via multiple platforms, which includes email, fax, courier and also postings on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.”

The state government has come under severe criticism for cancelling the Thaipusam public holiday, which falls on January 28, because of the Covid-19 crisis.

Sanusi said the move was not meant to deny the rights of Hindus, who could still celebrate the festival at home or within the confines of health and safety guidelines that are in effect.

He urged all parties not to “politicise” the matter.

Arun called the decision “absolutely absurd” and that Hindus could still pray and celebrate at home if Thaipusam remained a public holiday.

“We ask the state exco to review the decision and reinstate the Thaipusam holiday.

“Hindus can still celebrate Thaipusam with new norms at home and at temples without involving any form of gatherings.”

He said it was important that the day is a holiday for Hindus to fulfil their religious vows and perform prayers.

Several political leaders on both sides have criticised Sanusi for his actions.

In response, Sanusi told his critics to persuade the federal government to declare Thaipusam as a national holiday.

Arun said he is also disappointed that aside from former prime minister Najib Razak, Malay leaders, including Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, have remained silent over the matter.

It was then menteri besar Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah who declared Thaipusam an occasional holiday in Kedah in 2017.

Last year, the state did not observe the holiday because the festival fell on a Saturday. – TMI

Earlier report:

Jan 21, Kedah’s move to deny Hindus a holiday for Thaipusam slammed by politicians from both divides